January book picks: Day 14 of January's best reads

Jan 14, 2012 at 11:46 a.m. ET

We've tapped Luxury Reading's book lovin' blogger, Vera, to give us the scoop all month long on what books are worth the read. She'll be dishing out daily book picks -- and here's pick fourteen.

Set in Kuwait between the two Gulf Wars, Small Kingdoms by Anastasia Hobbet follows the lives of Small Kingdoms coverseemingly different individuals – local residents and Americans working abroad – and their coming together to help a maid abused by her employers.

Anastasia Hobbet lived in Kuwait during the time she describes in her novel, and her intimate knowledge of the country, its people and customs seeped through every page. Whether American, Kuwaiti or Palestinian, the characters felt as real as if I were another neighbor living down the street and dining at their table. From the beginning, I found myself invested in their lives and eagerly awaited the outcomes of their choices. Hobbet's fluid lyrical writing transcended the obstacles of a foreign culture and the maze of unknown customs to make the subject of Kuwait accessible to all readers. Amidst a barrage of novels set in the Middle East, Small Kingdoms stands out as a gem that is not to be missed.

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